by Iva Raynova. Published: 30 July 2016

Benjamin started his experience in ALICE in 2008 as a summer student for a month under the framework of the “Miniforschung” programme of the Heidelberg University in Germany. “One of my professors in my second year of university was Johanna Stachel. She was telling us about her work in ALICE and I also went on a visit of CERN. I thought that it would be great to work there someday. One year later I was already here, presenting my own work as a summer student.” His work during this first internship was related to event displays and later he contributed to JEWEL, a Monte Carlo event generator, simulating QCD jet evolution in heavy-ion collisions.

In 2011 he completed his diploma thesis on online electron identification for triggering with the Transition Radiation Detector (TRD). The following five years he dedicated to his PhD in the University of Tübingen, Germany, working on particle Identification in Jets and High-Multiplicity pp Events with the ALICE Time Projection Chamber (TPC). “I finished last year and now I am a postdoc in Tübingen. A few weeks ago I was granted a fellowship, so now I have two years to finish the project on particle identification in jets.”

Beside physics, Benjamin’s other passion is information science. “In high school I thought that this is what I was going to study. But then I received a prize for being the best student in physics and that led me to the thought that I should choose physics as my field. In addition, a year after you develop a programme, it will already be outdated. And I wanted to contribute to something with bigger impact on society.”  

In 2015 Benjamin was running for the election of a new Juniors representative. “I did it because I am always trying to improve the general situation. For example, I’m a first aider in my institute. I wanted to contribute here as well, I wanted to help everybody’s voice to be heard. The Juniors voted and, luckily, I was elected. We achieved quite a lot already. I believe we made the seniors aware that the junior members are a very important part of the Collaboration, that their opinion matters and it should be taken under consideration when important decisions are being made.”

When he is not working on his analysis, Benjamin likes playing the piano. Almost every weekend he goes biking in a national park close to his town. He also likes hiking and recently he started climbing. “The most time I spend on my bike. It keeps my body healthy. It also gives me the opportunity to see nature, but in a fast way. If you go hiking and you watch from the top of the mountain, you see a lot of things, a lot of details. But when you are biking, you pass from one landscape to another – you go up a hill, soon you cross a small river. I like the fact that I can pass by many places very quickly without compromising on the view. I also like going downhill. Unlike many people, I enjoy going uphill because I know what follows.” Lately Benjamin has also been learning how to scuba dive. “I recently got my licence. It is a completely different world, completely different experience. You feel free of gravity, like being in a space station.”